Protests on Wall Street draw mixed reactions, though their economic concerns are shared by most Americans.
Protests on Wall Street and cities throughout the world are eliciting mixed reactions from everyday Americans who are sympathetic to the message, but perhaps not the medium.
The broad issues emerging from the protests resonate with average citizens who share the sense that corporations are profiting unfairly at a time most households are experiencing declining wealth and incomes. The Occupy Wall Street movement is protesting “mass injustice” that includes the taking of homes through illegal foreclosures and the outsourcing of jobs as part of an effort to cut pay and healthcare, according to a declaration on the group’s website
“They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses,” states the declaration. “They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.”
A key demand, increased taxes for the rich, has widespread support, according to a survey of 843 investors conducted this month by Millionaire Corner. Seventy percent of investors with a net worth of $100,000 up to $1 million agree that raising taxes on individuals with a more than $1 million in income would improve the economic situation. Half of these investors favor raising taxes on households with more than $250,000 in income.
More than 60 percent of participants favor increased investment in alternative energy, another key demand expressed in the protests on Wall Street, and more than 62 percent support creating jobs through road, bridge and other infrastructure projects.
While the ideas championed by the protests on Wall Street receive majority support, the protesters themselves prove to be more controversial. About 34 percent of survey participants agree that the protesters are making a good and valid point, while another 34 percent say the protesters represent “the anti-capitalist and anti-free market elements in our society.” About 26 percent believe the protests will be a force in the next election, and 28 percent say the protests will be short-lived.
“These mixed sentiments reflect the anger and confusion many Main Street investors feel in the wake of the recession,” said Catherine McBreen, president of Millionaire Corner. “Most Americans want financial reform, but are not sure that street protests are an effective way to bring it about.”
The protests on Wall Street began on September 17thand, according to the movement, are now taking place in more than 100 U.S. cities and more than 1,500 cities around the world. Critics say the group has no clear message, but the an official statement by the Occupy Wall Street movement claims, “The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.”
The group claims to be “fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations.”